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Best Radar Detectors: Know Where the Fuzz Is

Enjoy lightning-fast detection of speed traps

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BY/ LAST UPDATED ON May 12, 2022

A radar detector can be an invaluable automotive accessory for those of us who may have a bit of a lead foot, as getting caught in a speed trap can really put a damper on your day, not to mention a dent in your bank account. This is where having a reliable and sensitive radar detector can come in very handy. Radar detectors run the gamut when it comes to options, reliability, and prices, and it can be confusing trying to figure out which one will be best for you. Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive product review and our in-depth buying guide that will teach you all you need to know to be certain you’re getting the right radar detector.


This is where having a reliable and sensitive radar detector can come in very handy. Designed to sense and alert you to speed traps and radar guns, a high-tech radar detector can save you a lot of headaches. But how do you know which one is best?


Radar detectors run the gamut when it comes to options, reliability, and prices. It can be confusing trying to figure out which one will be best for you. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive product review and our in-depth buying guide that will teach you all you need to know to be certain you’re getting the right radar detector.


I want you to be honest with yourself: You probably speed. A few miles an hour over the posted speed limit here, a few miles per hour there. I know I have. Each and every day we drive we run the risk of seeing those flashing blue lights in our rearview mirrors. But what can we do about it? If you’re like me, you get a radar detector. 


These cool little sensor gathering devices are legal in 49 states (sorry Virginians and those in Washington, D.C) and help let you know when police are nearby actively looking for speeding cars. Over the past few decades, the technology has advanced, and modern radar detectors are a great countermeasure to save you hundreds of dollars in tickets and fees. To reduce the chances of tickets breaking the bank, I rounded up some of the best radar detectors. Here are the ones I’d recommend to anyone looking for peace of mind while driving.

Best Overall

Uniden R8

Summary
For ultimate range and performance, in a detector that does it all. This is the radar detector that sets the bar.
Pros
  • Best range 
  • Responsive
  • MRCD detection range
Cons
  • Not immune to police radar detector detectors (RDD)
  • Auto lockout issues
Best Value

Radenso DS1

Summary
One of the best range detectors for significantly less money than flagship detectors from other brands with connectivity features.
Pros
  • Best range for mid-tier detectors
  • Bluetooth connectivity for updates and setting adjustments
Cons
  • No arrows for directional information
  • Nexus Bluetooth connectivity only available on Android, not Apple iOS
Honorable Mention

Escort Redline 360C

Summary
An all-in-one, simple to use detector that offers some of the best range, best filtering, and best auto lockout features to make it a top tier plug and play option.
Pros
  • Auto lockout feature is best in class
  • Invisible to all radar detector detectors
  • Wi-Fi connectivity for apps and updates
Cons
  • Price
  • Several cheaper detectors have longer range and responsiveness
Best Radar Detectors: Know Where the Fuzz Is

Our Methodology

Note: The author, The Drive, and its affiliates do not condone or endorse speeding. Drive safely.

Radar detectors are something of a mystery to many people and their synonymous relationship with nefarious driving habits can make finding reliable information on these devices difficult. I used The Drive’s gear review methodology in an effort to inform you regarding the best radar detectors available today. The information gathered for these products mentioned in the article come not only from the manufacturer’s websites, but also from independent testing (thank you, Vortex Radar) and expert opinions were taken into account to verify manufacturer claims. I used my personal experience with several brands of radar detectors over the past six years to give context over which features and capabilities have been most important to me and helped me use these detectors for their intended function. 

For my evaluation, detector range, responsiveness, and ease of use were my most important criteria for choosing the best detectors on the market. While other features such as auto GPS lockouts, blind spot monitoring (BSM) false alert filtering, and low-speed muting are important, they are not weighed as heavily for evaluation as they are not absolutely crucial to the core function of a radar detector. 

Custom installed radar detectors were also not considered, as they cost thousands of dollars, require extensive work done by a professional shop for installation, and incorporate the use of laser jammers, which is illegal in a number of states. Any radar detector under $300 was ruled out, as I have found that detectors in this price range are not top performers and often will not give you enough time to adjust your speed prior to a speed trap recording your speed. 

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Best Radar Detector Reviews & Recommendations

Specs

  • Antenna: Dual front/rear antennas
  • Connectivity: Pending Bluetooth functionality

Pros

  • Among the most consistent long range detection for radar detectors
  • Superior MRCD radar detection range
  • Consistent, accurate and smooth ramp up of radar detection
  • K Block feature helps minimize false alerts from BSM systems

Cons

  • GPS auto lockouts are still not fully functional, requiring manual lockouts
  • No Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity makes firmware updates more difficult
  • Not immune to Spectre Radar Detector Detectors (RDD)

The Uniden R7 is one of the newest radar detectors on the market and is Uniden’s current flagship. While the detector lacks some of the connectivity and app features of other detectors, I see its range and sensitivity to be its biggest asset and why I believe it is the best buy for a radar detector today. The more distance this detector has to notify the driver of a potential speed trap, the more time you have to make a decision on what to do with that information. Time equals safety on the roads. Overall, it has some of the best performance of any radar detector on the market, but it lacks any app connectivity to help with updating software. A Bluetooth app is supposedly in the works, but there is no update on when that may become available.

Specs

  • Antenna: Single front antenna
  • Connectivity: Nexus Android App (iOS app not currently available)

Pros

  • Detection range is comparable to flagship radar detectors at double the price
  • Class-leading MRCD radar detection range
  • Nexus Android app allows for easy firmware updates, and setting changes
  • K Notch feature helps minimize false alerts from BSM systems

Cons

  • No arrows for directional information on radar signals due to only one antenna
  • Nexus Bluetooth connectivity only available on Android, not Apple iOS
  • Not immune to Spectre Radar Detector Detectors (RDD)

The Radenso DS1 is one of the best detectors on the market regardless of price. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a new detector or is a first time buyer as it offers range comparable to the Uniden R7, Escort Redline 360c, and Valentine 1 Gen 2. With excellent BSM filtering including the K Notch feature for muting any signals in the commonly used 24.199 MHz, this detector will be quiet unless detecting an actual police radar signal. This detector shares many components with the Uniden R3 as it is built by the same Korean manufacturer, Attowave, however the magnesium horn for the antenna is proprietary to the DS1. The Uniden R3 has long been considered an outstanding detector that helped put Uniden detectors on the map for being some of the best, and the DS1 is an improved version. The only major downsides are the lack of arrows that come with a dual antenna set up as used in other detectors, and the Nexus app is only currently available on Android phones currently. However, once that connectivity is extended to Apple iOS phones, it will allow for easy and convenient means of changing settings and updating firmware. This detector is not just a good value — it is one I would personally consider owning or recommending to friends that may not want to spend more than $400 on a new detector.
Honorable Mention
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Specs

  • Antenna: Triple antenna (two front, one rear)
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (Escort live app)

Pros

  • Easy to use UI and software allow for plug and play design with minimal adjustments
  • Immune to police Spectre radar detector detectors (RDD)
  • Escort Live App allows for detector network, ease of updating firmware and settings
  • Triple antenna design allows for accurate and long distance 360-degree radar detection

Cons

  • Currently the most expensive detector on the market
  • Lacks the range and responsiveness of detectors at half its price

The Escort Redline 360C is the flagship dash-mounted radar detector. I picked this as the honorable mention as it is a fantastic plug and play radar detector that requires very little customization or setting changes to work flawlessly. I firmly believe that the auto lockout GPS feature for false alerts on Escort radar detectors makes using these detectors much less stressful and intuitive. The tri antenna setup gives the driver more information about the direction of the radar signal and I know from experience this is crucial information I have used in the past to determine at which speed I should drive. My experience updating the firmware on Uniden detectors can be a hassle, and the ability to quickly and easily update the Redline 360c via the Wi-Fi connection to the Escort live app will keep this detector relevant for years to come. The reason I could not give this otherwise outstanding detector the top pick was due to its price and performance. Simply put: there are better detectors with more range and sensitivity for less money. Both the Uniden R8 and Radenso DS1 tested with longer range detection but cost anywhere between $50 to $400 cheaper. The detector also suffers from responsiveness issues and some lag when using BSM and K Block filters compared to its competitors. While it may be one of the easiest to use, feature-rich high-end detectors, its lack of raw performance was why I would not recommend it as a top pick.

Our Verdict on Radar Detectors

If I were to summarize my recommendations on the top radar detectors as mentioned above: If you want a no hassle detector that does everything well, with all the features you want and you don’t care about the price: I would get the Escort Redline 360C. If you want an outstanding detector on a budget and don’t need directional arrows: I would get the Radenso DS1. If you want the best all-around performing detector: I would get the Uniden R7. I firmly believe these represent the best radar detectors on the market that fit a variety of budgets. 

What to Consider When Buying Radar Detectors

Radar detectors come packed with different features and designs. Here are some basics about radar detectors I think you should know about from my experience using them over the past six years. 

Types of Radar Detectors

Single Antenna

This is the traditional setup for radar detectors or today’s mid-tier detectors. In these detectors, only one forward-facing antenna is built in to pick up radar signals. This does not affect distance, as the design and build quality of the antenna and the horn (its housing) are what helps most with range and sensitivity. The upsides to this type of detectors is simplicity and generally lower cost, as well as reduced size. The downside to single antenna detectors is that the detector will not be able to determine which direction the signal is coming from. 

Multi-Antenna

As the name implies, multi-antenna detectors have more than one antenna. What is the advantage of this? Directional arrows. With multiple antennas oriented in different directions (typically one forward, one rear-facing). With the detector picking up signals in each antenna and the ability to determine signal strength between antennas, it is able to determine the direction of the signal. Why is this important? I have used the information to determine if I need to slow down (allegedly) for an upcoming police speed trap, or see if or when I have passed the radar signal. This will give me less time worrying about driving too slowly and getting back up to my preferred speed (legally, of course). 

Radar Detector Key Features

Auto GPS Lockouts

Auto GPS lockouts on detectors use the GPS data to repeatedly recognize similar signals at the same locations. Over time, this will mute these signals that are deemed not to be speed traps, but other false alerts such as automatic door openers (commonly found in commercial stores). While it is possible to manually lockout these signals on many detectors, the automatic GPS lockouts take out any guesswork of potentially muting a signal that could be a legitimate police radar or speed trap. I have had an older Escort radar detector with this feature and it makes using the detectors for commuting much quieter and hassle-free. 

Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) Filtering

On today’s roads, many modern cars have blind-spot monitoring systems and adaptive cruise control systems that rely on sending out radar signals to work. Now, detectors have to work harder to fight through the “noise” of so many radar signals to determine which is a potential police radar, and what is a car’s BSM system. “Filtering” software can help reduce false alerts. These typically work through recognizing the radar frequency and other data and automatically mute any signals within that frequency, such as 24.199 MHz. As these BSM systems become more common, this filtering technology is almost becoming a necessity to prevent your detector from going off with too many false alerts. 

MRCD Compatibility 

Most police radars typically use single continuous frequency radars. What does this mean? It means the radar is constantly operating at a safe frequency (example: 33.8 GHz). New MultaRadar technology used by some police departments varies the frequency used. Older detectors may not be capable of picking up these new MRCD radars but new detector technology and software allow them to pick up MRCD. This is why sometimes spending more money for a more capable detector is worth it in my opinion. 

Pricing 

Most modern and capable detectors can range from $300 for a mid-range detector to more than $800 for a flagship detector. While it is possible to find cheaper detectors, I would not recommend them as they often lack the range, performance, and features that a modern detector requires to be effective against today’s law enforcement. Of course, you could just not speed, but that’s not why you’re reading this article. 

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: Do radar detectors work for laser speed guns?

A: Simple answer: No. The longer explanation is that they can notify you when you are being hit with a laser gun, but by the time your detector is telling you this information, a police officer already has your speed. So it's fairly useless besides letting you know if you’re about to get a ticket. Ask me how I know.

Q: How far can a radar detector pick up a signal? 

A: That depends. Factors such as terrain, trees, foliage, and weather can lead to variations from several miles to several hundred feet.

Q: Can I get a ticket for mounting a radar detector to my windshield?

A: Potentially. Some states (such as California) only allow small portions of the windshield where items can be mounted that might obscure your vision. I invested in a rearview mirror mount from a company called Blendmount that is not only a sturdier mounting option, but it also allows for a cleaner-looking, more permanent mounting solution.

Q: What is low-speed muting?  

A: For city driving, you may not need to be alerted to radar signals if you are already going below a set speed. Some detectors have features that will mute all alerts under a speed you can set within the detector to help keep the detector quiet when it is not needed.

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